Oolite Arts unveils future home design by Barozzi Veiga

Exterior view of Oolite Arts’ proposed $30 million headquarters (rendered)
(Credit: Oolite Arts)

Oolite Arts – one of Miami’s leading supporters of visual artists – recently showcased architectural renderings of its new headquarters, designed by Barcelona’s Barozzi Veiga.

Opened in 2024, the building will be the first project built by award-winning architects in the United States and represents Oolite Arts’ status as a world-class cultural center.

Oolite Arts has supported the arts in Miami since 1984, and the organization’s new home demonstrates its continued dedication to artists and the community. Located at 75 NW 72 St., the new center is located in a burgeoning arts district easily accessible in the city and close to many artist studios, homes and galleries.

The campus will expand opportunities and programming to meet the ongoing needs of Miami’s growing visual arts ecosystem while enriching conversations about architecture and art in the city.

“As Miami’s cultural landscape continues to evolve, Oolite Arts is committed to elevating the city’s visual arts community,” said Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts. “This new space will be a thriving cultural center where artists can grow and connect with international visitors and neighbors.”

With a layout reminiscent of an artist’s village, the new building will host Oolite Arts’ signature artist residency, film arts programs, lecture series and more than 200 art classes. It will provide ample space for up to 21 free individual studio spaces for artists, an exhibition gallery, a theater, two classrooms, a creative space, a print studio and the offices of the organization.

There will also be a community garden and a rooftop.

Since the announcement of Barozzi Veiga as the architects of the project in February 2020, Oolite Arts and the company directors – Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga – have worked in collaboration with Charles H. Benson & Associates, the local architectural partner, and Amicon, the owner representative.

The goal is to create a home where artists and the community can access flexible, bright and open gathering spaces. With an interior courtyard that invites the public and incorporates rich vegetation, the project also underlines Barozzi Veiga’s sustainability standards and the company’s commitment to discovering the specificity of the place they design for.

Barozzi Veiga has designed a space that prioritizes the needs of artists and the community, striking a balance between the public and the private. In addition to the studios that seamlessly transform into active exhibition spaces, one of the key elements of the building is its diffused natural light, which provides artists with spatial stages in which to carry out their personal explorations.

This quality is achieved through a repeated vertical typology that integrates skylights, creates a whole of rooms and optimizes climate control by powering solar chimneys and wind sensors. With these features, the architects came up with an energy-efficient design that is expected to achieve LEED certification.

“In general, our projects are designed with end users in mind,” said Barozzi Veiga. “We wanted to offer artists the best working conditions. This involved finding a balance between very intimate studios and bright public spaces for community life, which is part of Oolite’s DNA.

Once completed, the project will become part of Barozzi Veiga’s impressive portfolio, which includes artistic spaces such as the Ribera del Duero headquarters (2011), the Auditorium Infanta Elena

in Águilas (2011), the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall (2014), the Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur (2016), the Ragenhaus Musikschule in Bruneck (2018), the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts Lausanne (2019), the Tanzhaus Zürich (2019) and the two artists’ studios in London (2021). The company’s work in the United States also includes an overhaul of the master plan for the Art Institute of Chicago.

“This new campus will be the cornerstone of our mission to support artists in our community today and in the future,” said Eric Rodriguez, Chairman of the Board of Oolite Arts.

“We are grateful to Barozzi Veiga for bringing the vision of the board to life with his exceptional design. Our entire Board of Directors – including Chairman Emeritus Kim Kovel, Facilities Committee Chairman Alessandro Ferretti, Vice -chair Marie Elena Angulo and committee members Maricarmen Martinez and Jeff Krinsky – is thrilled to have seen this project go from an idea to a completed design.

In addition to free studio spaces, exhibition opportunities, and studio tours with curators, Oolite Arts continues its founder’s legacy of helping artists help themselves. For nearly four decades, Oolite has supported over 1,000 Miami-based artists through its Studio Residency program as well as its new Home + Away Travel residency. The organization’s acquisitions program will foster the growth of local artists by increasing their representation in major collections across the country. Some of Oolite’s alumni include Germane Barnes, William Cordova, Teresita Fernandez, and Michael Richards.

“Oolite Arts is redefining and elevating the practices of South Florida artists not just through funding, but with an imagination and support system that filters creativity beyond conventional methodologies,” said Carl-Philippe Juste, winner of the 2021 Creator’s Award. “It’s a vital and much-needed breath of fresh air, exuding fairness with every breath and creating a diverse artistic atmosphere where we can all breathe.”

Edouard Duval-Carrié, winner of the 2018 Ellies Michael Richards Prize, added: “I applaud the efforts this organization has made to want to expand and explore new avenues, such as the move from Lincoln Road, to a much larger space. Hopefully this expansion will help attract new artists to the city as well as keep those who are here.

During construction, Oolite Arts will continue to house its resident artists and offer programming at 924 and 928 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. The organization is committed to maintaining a presence in this area through exhibitions and art classes.

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Abdul J. Gaspar